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Private schools review safety protocols in wake of Nashville shooting

Suggested security protocols for schools include surveillance, double locks and active shooter training.
Posted at 7:58 PM, Mar 29, 2023

After the recent mass shooting in Nashville, private schools around the country are looking at their security protocols and whether they're doing enough.

"I know you can't imagine that it could happen at your school, but the unfortunate reality is: It could," said Tim Uhl, superintendent of the Diocese of Buffalo Catholic Schools.

Unlike public schools, private school security standards vary because they don't have as many requirements. Some also lack funding and access to government programs.

Uhl, who oversees 32 Buffalo Catholic elementary schools, says they don't have school resource officers or law enforcement officers with the power to arrest, but they do have a safety plan.

"We ask every school to do safety plans," he said. "Our schools are required to do 12 safety drills — eight of which are evacuation fire drills, four are lockdown."

Loyola High School in Detroit has a safety task force that meets regularly. Cameras surround the building and security footage is monitored by staff. 

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"As a school administrator, whenever you hear about school tragedy such as this, it's just heartfelt," said Wyatt L. Jones III, principal of Loyola High School. "You feel for the community, and it also brings you back to your community. What are you doing to ensure the safety in which you serve?"

Tim Miller, with LionHeart Security Team, helps train private schools on safety. He says a combination of technologies like cameras, personnel and training can bolster public school safety. 

"Just like we practice in secret service, security always starts in the parking lot, so having cameras, having technology in place," Miller said. "There's actually smart technology cameras that will identify weapons and alert automatically, so you have to have someone watching cameras."

Nashville Covenant School had many of the suggested security protocols, like cameras, double locked doors and active shooter training. Still, the shooter made their way in.

"I'm sure there will be a new awareness, a new prioritizing of resources. We prioritize what becomes important," said Jeff Walton, executive director of the American Association of Christian Schools.

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